Sticking to New Year’s resolutions can often be a challenge. But, typically, the challenge lies in the scope of the resolution rather than the task itself. This year, what about focusing your efforts on five cleaning resolutions that will benefit the whole household?
Grab a pen and your old-school paper calendar, laptop, or mobile phone calendar because the first resolution is to draft your year’s cleaning schedule. Be realistic and think long term. Week one you’ll be overzealous, but on the 347th day of the new year, things will be quite different. You may only have time to deep clean one room per week; do laundry every other day; run the dishwasher twice daily if you’re a busy household, or every other day if you live alone. Set yourself up for success by customizing your cleaning schedule to suit your unique life.
Making your bed every single day has been linked to productivity and success. But when it comes to housekeeping, the theory behind making your bed daily is really quite simple. A well-made bed makes the whole room look tidier. Don’t do this chore carelessly; strip the bed like they do in hotels. Doing a really thorough job with this tiny task psychologically sets you up for success in all other areas of your life.
Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds, states the postman’s pledge. This stands true even in our electronic age. These days, bills, income tax receipts and investment statements arrive electronically, so much of what hits the mailbox is just junk. Make one of your New Year’s resolutions to open your mail over the recycling bin, so you can toss anything unwanted without haste.
“People get a real lift when they put things in their place, tackle nagging tasks, clear surfaces, and get rid of things that don’t work or aren’t used,” says Gretchen Rubin in her book, Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives. “This surge of energy makes it easier to ask more of ourselves, to use our self-control, and to stick to a challenging habit.” So, take ten minutes at the end of each day to tackle clutter. Go room by room and bust the clutter parties! Here’s a Dr. Seuss inspired jingle to get you started: Straighten shoes on mats, hang coats up on racks, put empty mugs in the sink, and clean up any spills and ink – and in the morning you’re golden!
After you’ve taken the time to design your cleaning schedule, you may realize the scope and depth of keeping your home in check is not realistic. If you work 40+ hours a week, have a long commute, and children with extracurricular activities of their own, then you may want to reach out for extra help. Pick the chores you feel are manageable to fit your schedule and consider hiring a cleaning service to help you with the more time-consuming chores.